A group of scientists from China discovered that the animal pangolin is a probable intermediate carrier of a new type of coronavirus, Chinese media reported on Friday.
Scientists were able to establish that the genomic sequence of a new type of coronavirus isolated from pangolins is 99% identical to the genome of a new type of coronavirus in sick people. Experts note that pangolins may not be the only intermediate hosts of the virus.
The study was conducted by specialists from South China Agricultural University and the Lynnan-Guangdong Laboratory of Modern Agriculture. They studied a thousand samples of genetic material.
Experts say that their work will allow you to quickly take control of an outbreak of coronavirus. They hope that it will help scientists find other potential hosts of the virus, but for now they are urging them not to approach wild animals.
However, the reports did not specify whether the coronavirus could be transmitted to humans from pangolins.
Earlier, Chinese scientists expressed the view that for the first time a person could become infected with a coronavirus from a snake. They also suggested that the source of the new virus could be animals from the family of the winged.
Pangolins are mammals covered with large scales. They live in Africa and Asia, everywhere their population is not very large. Pangolins are extremely popular among poachers in Asia, in China there are laws restricting their capture. Chinese media compare the cost of pangolin scales on the black market with the cost of silver.
High prices for pangolin scales are associated with its popularity in Chinese traditional medicine. Many diseases offer treatment with pangolin scales: from asthma to arthritis.
Pangolin meat is also highly regarded; in China and Vietnam it is considered a delicacy.